Some sort of wally

Insomnia is not one of my problems, but I sometimes do lie awake at night and think deep thoughts.

One of the most puzzling issues which occupies my time is the question of where the tendency for South African service to be so shockingly bad came from. It seems that we are a nation that just accepts whatever we are given and, although we may moan about it in private, we let the culprits get away with it.

I had an example last week, where I finally decided to renew cellphone contract, close to a year after it had elapsed. This was on a Monday, and everything went smoothly until the phone had been chosen and the final papers signed.

Then the assistant went and ruined everything by saying that he would put in the order the following day, and that I could probably expect to get my new handset and speakerphone by the Friday. Probably.

This store was selling a product that it didn’t have in stock and, in it’s don’t-give-a-damn business model, was only prepared place an order the following day. Maybe I’m unreasonable, but shouldn’t the aim have been to fill my order as promptly as possible, not to make me fit in with whatever schedule they deem acceptable?

I regularly deal with a store in New York where I can more or less count on getting the goods in my hand, a week after order. Five days (probably) to get stuff from Johannesburg is just unacceptable to me.

Given a little sympathy and understanding, and agreement that perhaps the way things are done is not ideal, I might well have left the order stand and not done anything about it. As it was, the assistant could not begin to understand why I might be annoyed, and clearly believed me to be some sort of wally.

Anyhow, I made him tear up the new contract, and I’ll stick with my el-cheapo handset, with no camera, no colour screen, and whose battery lasts more than a week. Most people would probably not have gone to that length to make their point but, if there were more consumers like me, there wouldn’t be service like that.

The print version of this column mentioned the program Polardroid

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